It’s common to find cracks in the garage as a sign of its age, but that’s not always the cause. If you find cracks way before they’re expected to show, there’s definitely a problem we need to address.
And there are many reasons for driveway cracks, which means we have to analyze and determine what’s going on first before committing to a repair project.
Let's look at the most common causes so you can decide the best way to fix sidewalk cracks and driveway damage.
Plastic shrinkage most often occurs when there is too much water in the asphalt mix. Concrete will crack as it dries because water evaporates, leaving spaces that weaken the structure. The same can happen with the change from freezing temperatures to warmer weather, as the asphalt contracts and expands.
The concrete professional you choose needs to create the right mix to prevent cracking, which should greatly increase the endurance of your asphalt.
Asphalt too thin
It’s common for asphalt to spread beyond the base, creating a thin layer that’s prone to easily cracking.
The way to solve this is to hire a professional to remove the cracked edges, then recompact the foundation, place a brick border, and put new asphalt between the sidewalk and the brick. It’s a lengthy process better left to a pro.
Tree root growth
As tree roots grow and spread, they apply pressure under the asphalt of the driveway. Eventually, the surface cracks as the foundation and base layers push up.
Experts agree that the best way to protect a sidewalk from these cracks is to plant a species that does not develop aggressive roots. Otherwise, you have little choice but to remove the tree to prevent it from disrupting your driveway again – but of course, you can replace it with another type of tree that has more agreeable root growth.
Dings and scratches from sharp or edged items can crack or tear off pieces of the concrete surface. You need to fix cracks or chips like these as soon as possible, because if you don’t, water, salt, and melting snow will get in and make it even worse.
This is a difficult project to DIY, so find a professional garage repair service to take care of your cracked driveway.
Bad sidewalk foundation and base installation
Cracked pavement is often the result of poor foundation installation. The base of the driveway should consist of very well-compacted gravel, followed by an aggregate base.
Then the surface is placed on top. If the foundation is not compacted enough or uses sand or soil substrates that shift and corrode, the driveway will crack. The only way to truly fix this is to address the foundation itself.
Settlement cracks occur when there is space below the sidewalk. With the weight of passing vehicles the ground shifts to fill the void, and the driveway cracks as it settles into the newly adjusted ground.
This doesn’t happen necessarily because of poor installation – extreme temperatures or excessive rain can cause the ground to shift too. The best way to prevent this from happening is to also install proper drainage.
Too much weight
Vehicles that are too large and heavy can crack your driveway, as both concrete and asphalt have weight limits – which is why you see weight limits on certain highways. Also, even though the surface can support the additional weight, if the base cannot, it will shift, resulting in a crack.
This can also happen if more than one vehicle is left on the driveway, so be mindful of that if you have guests.
Excessive use of sealants or poor-quality asphalt mix
Fatigue cracking in an asphalt driveway indicates that the contractor used a poor-quality asphalt mix, or perhaps that previous homeowners had the driveway already coated with sealants.
Sealants can help in protecting your driveway, but overuse can lead to severe damage over time. The only way to fix this is to remove the asphalt layer, recompact the base and pour new asphalt.
With the help of a professional, you can find out what causes asphalt driveway cracks. Keep in mind that for any crack, the best solution is to pour another layer of asphalt, because as we mentioned earlier, using sealants can make the situation worse.
Don't forget to call a reliable contractor to repair your driveway and prevent further damage.